Why I Can’t Just Be A Yappie

Joanna was missing meaning in her life and she found it outside of being a Yappie.

Are you a Yappie (Young Asian Professional)? If you are, are you feeling fulfilled? What else would give your life meaning?

The first time I heard about the concept of “Yappie” was through Wong Fu Productions (a popular Asian American filmmaking group. Watch their Yappie series if you haven’t already). A Yappie, or Young Asian Professional, is someone who spends his / her life chasing the “right’ milestones, someone who is okay staying at a cushy 9-5 and never stopped to question what else he or she could do. I really related to this concept because this was me.

Being A Yappie

I had spent my life doing what I “should” do. I got into a prestigious university, studied something practical (i.e. Finance), and secured a coveted professional job at a large corporation. I ended up exactly where my parents wanted me to be: in a safe career with great prospects in a big company. I would never starve. Life was sweet.

Being a Yappie did make me happy for awhile. I had a great career going for me. I bought a place and married my soulmate. I checked all the boxes, and yet it wasn’t long before the high of all that wore off. A persistent, nagging sense of emptiness hung over me like a cloud. I felt like an ungrateful brat, overridden with guilt for wanting more than what I had, and yet I couldn’t quiet the voice that asked me to find the missing piece that would give my life more meaning than it had.

Photo Credit: Owen Lin

The Realization

I decided to seek help from a career coach, expecting some sage advice, but the conversation was completely different from what I thought. There was no advice-giving. Instead she asked me, “What do you truly want?” I was thrown off. I never asked myself that because I didn’t think what I wanted was important. After answering a series of deep questions, I realized that I spent most of my life doing what I should do because I was afraid – of judgements, of failures, and of being seen as incompetent. In the process, I failed myself because I was not living in alignment with who I was. This life-changing conversation prompted me to go on a search for what really mattered to me.

Discovering My “Fire”

In the months that followed the conversations I had with the coach, I kept wondering, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could help others the way that she helped me?” I decided to try a coaching course from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), not knowing that this would be the experience that would transform my life. Everything suddenly fell in place. A match was struck, lighting up the fire I’d been looking for all along. I discovered my life purpose, which is to fearlessly inspire people to lead fulfilling lives through my practice, Joanna Li Coaching.

And you, what would light the fire in you?

Photo Credit: Richard Quan

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